Monday, June 9, 2014

Another End-of-Term Youtube Extravaganza

This being the end of the term here at Davenport, it is always time for some fun, so here are links to a new slate of youtube clips. We are off for a few weeks not, and so I will return at the start of our new term.

1. Starting out serious, this is a great clip about how to make effective scientific presentations. While it is long, it does a great job of providing you information to aid you as you develop presentations, such as for ACC-RAC.

2. This is a film of the infamous crash in the 2012 Tour de France. It is hard to watch, and you need to look at what happens to the rider in the back. What is most amazing is that he got back on the bike, and completed the day’s ride as well as the complete Tour. This after he landed up against a barbed wire fence!

3. Little 11-year-old Brook Rabatou, a record-setting rock climber. Of course, her mom was a top climber as well… but this is pretty amazing.

4. You’ve not heard the old spiritual Amazing Grace played like this before. By the astonishing Victor Wooten.

5. One more bass player. Because, you know, I played bass for years. So I remember when I first saw this broadcast, of the Crossroads Festival, there was this young women hanging with Jeff Beck. I thought she must be his daughter, not that I remembered him having kids. And then she walked out with him, holding a bass guitar. Who the heck is this? Then she began to play. Holy cow! First introduction to the amazing- and at the time only 22-year-old- Tal Wilkenfeld. Young enough to be Beck’s grand-daughter!

6. Japanese synchromized walking. Must be seen to be believed!

7. Rick Jay on card control. This man is scary  to a degree that frightens me. Never play cards with him. Ever.

8. All military homecomings are worth watching!

9. RAGBRAI. I cannot get enough of RAGBRAI. I’ll be riding my 10th in July.

10. Jefferson Airplane. American Bandstand. Only someone as old as me will remember this…

Monday, June 2, 2014

Technology- Good and Bad

This past week was a reminder that, for as much as technology helps us, it also can create problems for us, in unexpected ways. At our Davenport campus, we lost the use of ParScore. And when you begin to consider what this means, it can boggle your mind. We have a Student Information System (SIS), which is coordinated via PowerCampus, and which links to so many different areas of college function. For example, it links to financial aid, to the business office, and it links to faculty via classroom rosters. We download rosters from PowerCampus at the start of the term. This populates our ParScore rosters so that when we grade examinations, we then fill the spreadsheet with each student’s score.

But all of a sudden we could not get in to ParScore. I gave a test on Thursday morning last week, and was able to enter grades (and thankfully print out the grade set for my own records). Later that day, the system went down. As far we as can tell right now, it was the result of an infection from a kind of malware known as ransomware ( This is a bad kind of program that literally holds files for ransom; if you do not pay the ransom, it destroys the files. We found 2 computers in the network with the infection and replaced them. But to restore the system, IT had to use a saved backup version of the system and reinstall it. This they did several times, going further and further back in time to where they could stabilize the system. We lost 2 days of work in the Par system as a result.
Like many, I lost all the work I did in the later part of the week. I had to hand restore my grades and scores from the sheet I had fortunately printed out. I tried as best I could to keep faculty informed of developments, knowing that at least 15 people were going to have to re-enter scores. It was bad all around. But this is now the world we live in- reliant on technology, but not all that aware of every threat out there.